Friday, August 20, 2010

Sending prayers

I called a friend yesterday whose actual voice I hadn't heard in about five years. Facebook yeah, but her voice...the melodies that rang from her belly...five years. I glanced at some of Facebook posts and noticed that she had been in the hospital and that she was home.

I called her yesterday. Lola. Sweet Lola. She told me that she had recently been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. I am in denial. Even typing that I misspelled terminal brain cancer so many times I'm wondering what's wrong with me.

She said she was having lunch with a friend of hers and her vision started fading, then her hearing. She was taken to a hospital and they began tests to see if she was having a heart attack. "It's not my heart!" She told them.

And it wasn't. After an MRI they saw the tumor. I am sending prayers for Lola and if you are reading this, please pray too. Pray for peace and healing for Lola. This vegan, yoga instructing, poet, dancing, beautiful woman whose presence has blessed this planet.

II. Donna (D.W.)

I took a long nap after my conversation with Lola. I fell asleep thinking about how incredibly fragile our bodies are. How short our time is on this Earth. We never know what someone is going through. We never know how long we have with the ones we love, and the ones we don't.

My cell phone vibrating on my lap woke me from my nap. It was Donna. My very good friend. "D.W. is dead." She told me. "He overdosed and he's dead." D.W. is her nephew and was twenty years old. Too many of those years using drugs and alcohol. Over $50,000 in those years spent in rehab and too many tears to even begin to measure. But mostly, way too much potential to go another way. Now this. He was "drinking" with some friends and passed out on the floor. They didn't know he was dead until the next morning.

I am posting this blog because I want it to mean something. I want my prayers, our prayers to mean something. Our prayers for Lola. Our prayers for Donna and her family and friends. Our prayers for the young men drinking with D.W.

D.W.'s parents were not speaking much, Donna told me. "And this is what happens when parents won't put down their own stuff and connect with each other for their children." I want this to mean something. Even if it means that we mothers, you fathers put down our stuff and connect with each other for our children.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dear poets

Maybe writers block is a red flag that there is some truth we should be writing about ourselves. A layer, a truth we are hiding from the world. From ourselves. A story a poem a river ready to flow.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Red Stories #17 - Call the brothas? Call the police?

For those of you who have been following this blog you may remember my Red Stories. They are a series of poems, conversations, thoughts about domestic violence. I began posting them because it seemed like for a period in my life it seemed like everywhere I turned the topic came up. My Godmother told me that things happen to artists because we tell it. So the thing that kept happening, and I mean KEPT happening was that it seemed I couldn't go ANYWHERE without being in the middle of a domestic violence conversation. So, I started Red Stories.

I was in a conversation with a group of brothas who were talking about why we don't need the police in our homes. The "our" in the conversation is in reference to black people. They weren't referring to all black people, but to those of us in "the community." Yeah, the community, where we barter incense for soap, poets are the preachers, jazz is alive, I think you get it. Anyway, the topic came up about domestic violence (of course) and whether the sistas should let the brothas handle the brotha or should she call the police.

Dear sistas, if you are ever in this situation, please call the police. I know you wanna be down for your people but if a brotha is beating you up you may need more than the brothas from the community dealing with him.

I say this especially because if this is a situation happening repeatedly you will need legal documentation such as your police filing to help you. If you are standing in court pleading your case about how long the situation has been going on, police records are what the judge is going to be looking for, not statements from the brothas.

Yes, there is value in service of the brothas. I am tired though, tired of hearing stories about women being beaten, killed, kicked, burned...tired of it. What the brothas can do though is start a dialogue about stopping the abuse. Is is just that easy? Probably not. But it's a start.

My two cents.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Red Tea

I performed at George's house a few weeks ago. Shared poetry, stories, life. George is very creative with food, drinks, settings. He had a beautiful and large beverage container filled with water, ice, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, mint leaves and veggies. Besides being very very good it was soooooooo lovely!

Uraeus had some of the tea and said "because I grew up with a poet I'm used to stuff like this." Then he hugged me and said "Mom, all of your friends who are poets remind me of this red tea." How poetic.

A couple of days later we saw another friend of mine. Sandra Lorraine Coleman. Uraeus whispered to me, "Mom, is she one?"

"One what?"

"A poet?"


"Figured that, 'cause I can sense the red tea on her."

Keep following the red tea.